Marcial favored to strike gold

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Associated Press has predicted that three Philippine athletes will land a podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics with middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial the only gold medalist. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and featherweight boxer Nesthy Petecio were picked to bag a bronze each. Missing in the forecast were gymnast Caloy Yulo, golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and skateboarder Margie Didal.

Association of Boxing Alliances  in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson said yesterday he’s upbeat about Marcial’s chances. “Eumir is seeded fourth (among 25) and drew a bye in the Round of 32 so it means he’s going straight to the Round of 16,” said Picson. “Just two wins and he’s assured of a bronze. Three wins, it’s a silver and four wins, it’s a gold. The training in Colorado Springs went very well. We sent coach Gerson (Nietes) to stay with him for a month and coach Ronald (Chavez) the last two weeks before flying to Tokyo. We pulled out coach Ronald from training camp in Thailand to go back to Manila and renew his US visa. Coach Gerson is back in Manila while coach Ronald went with Eumir to Tokyo.”

Picson said sparring at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs was productive. “Eumir sparred with Olympians from the US, Australia, Jordan and others,” he said. “When Jordan left for a camp in Russia and the US and Australia flew early to Japan, Eumir worked with US youth boxers, doing partner play in school, not competitive, sparring. It was also helpful in that Eumir got to practice defense, offense, positioning, footwork.”

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